by Lisa Sorg
Duke Energy will spend $85 million to significantly reduce harmful air pollution at an Indiana power plant and pay a $1.75 million civil penalty, under a settlement to resolve violations of federal clean air laws, the Justice Department and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today in a press release. The settlement also requires Duke to spend $6.25 million on environmental mitigation projects.
Last May, an Indianapolis jury found that Duke violated the Clean Air Act by failing to obtain required permits and pollution controls before making modifications to Units 1 and 3 at its New Albany, Ind., plant. Duke's failure to implement these pollution controls resulted in significant increases in sulfur dioxide.
The settlement requires Duke to either repower Units 1 and 3 with natural gas or shut them down to remove all sulfur dioxide pollution. Duke also must install new pollution controls for sulfur dioxide at the other two units at the plant, Units 2 and 4.
The environmental projects and expenditures include $250,000 for the U.S. Forest Service to address acid rain in downwind national forests, $5 million for one or more additional projects such as conversion to hydrogeneration or hybrid vehicle fleets, and $1 million for other initiatives to be allocated among the states that joined the federal government in the settlement: New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
Read the EPA's entire statement here: epa-dukeenergy